¿Cuál? vs. ¿Qué? -- quiz question

0
votes

There is a quiz on about.com about adjectives in Spanish, and this was one of the questions:

Fill in the blank in the sentence "¿___|__ sombrero prefieres'" to ask "What hat do you prefer'"

a) Cómo
b) Cuál
c) Dónde
d) Qué
e) d. is the usual choice, but b. is used in some regions.

15990 views
updated ABR 16, 2009
posted by Natasha

11 Answers

0
votes

La expresión correcta es: ¿Qué sombrero prefieres', puesto que: ¿cuál sombrero prefieres? es incorrecta.

En español, no se puede poner el sustantivo detrás de "cuál" porque está mal expresado, aunque muchos nativos lo hacen así, pero está mal expresado. Estás hablando mal si tú lo haces así. En realidad, no hay normas gramaticales para esto.

Sin embargo, está bien decir: ¿cuál es el sombrero que prefieres? porque el sustantivo no va inmediatamente detrás de "cuál".

I agree. Here are some rules that I clipped and pasted from Intermediate Spanish for Dummies and an About.com lesson. (As the book was an image file I could not cut and paste text so I may have to paste pictures in
2 replies (due size limitations.)

About.com lesson: (note rules about qué+noun)
http://spanish.about.com/cs/grammar/a/que_vs_cual.htm

see attached photo

updated ABR 16, 2009
posted by Hevuelto
0
votes

other picture that refers to above post.

updated ABR 16, 2009
posted by Hevuelto
0
votes

La expresión correcta es: ¿Qué sombrero prefieres', puesto que: ¿cuál sombrero prefieres? es incorrecta.
En español, no se puede poner el sustantivo detrás de "cuál" porque está mal expresado, aunque muchos nativos lo hacen así, pero está mal expresado. Estás hablando mal si tú lo haces así. En realidad, no hay normas gramaticales para esto.
Sin embargo, está bien decir: ¿cuál es el sombrero que prefieres? porque el sustantivo no va inmediatamente detrás de "cuál".

updated ABR 16, 2009
posted by nila45
0
votes

I think the same would happen with:

What is the hat you prefer?

Well, now that I am writing it out, I think this would be understood...

It would probably be understood, but it sounds like foreign English, and you are right that this is a good example of how the Spanish sounds.

Some people (of other dialects and/or education levels) may say "What hat do you prefer'," but it is not standard English, and is considered incorrect in formal writing. But no one, to my knowledge, would say it as you wrote it above.

As a mnemonic, we might memorize this, said by a police officer:

¿Cuál es tu nombre, y qué es eso que tienes en la mano'

The first question asks for a fact to be stated, while the second question asks for a description. Note that both are translated as "what."

updated ABR 16, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

asking "Qué es el sombrero que prefieres'" would prompt a response such as "Es algo que me pongo en la cabeza para quitar el sol." .

This would prompt a question like: ¿Mande? confused AS the sentence, is simply so wrong that it cannot be understood in Spanish.

I think the same would happen with:

What is the hat you prefer?

Well, now that I am writing it out, I think this would be understood...

updated ABR 16, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

It seems to me that our friend (and guru for questions about Spanish grammar/usage) Lazarus has been consistent in his interpreting "qué" as asking for a definition of whatever follows. Thus, quál = "which X do you prefer/choose/want'". However, the contrasting sentence with "qué" that is usually proposed (and to which he usually objects) is "¿Qué es el sombrero que prefieries'" (which is not quite the same thing as "¿Qué sombrero prefieres'").

First, I'm sure it's just a typo, but it's "cuál," not "quál."

Second, when it means "which (thing)," the standard word to use is qué, not cuál, although the latter is used in some regions and in some cases.

The reason we have to use cuál with the verb ser is that using qué + ser introduces the idea of innate quality or description of the noun. Therefore, asking "Qué es el sombrero que prefieres'" would prompt a response such as "Es algo que me pongo en la cabeza para quitar el sol." And I would like to know from Lazarus if he really does object to using qué + noun to translate "which noun," as I find that hard to believe (that he objects to it).

I may have misunderstood what you meant.

updated ABR 15, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

It seems to me that our friend (and guru for questions about Spanish grammar/usage) Lazarus has been consistent in his interpreting "qué" as asking for a definition of whatever follows. Thus, quál = "which X do you prefer/choose/want'". However, the contrasting sentence with "qué" that is usually proposed (and to which he usually objects) is "¿Qué es el sombrero que prefieries'" (which is not quite the same thing as "¿Qué sombrero prefieres'").

updated ABR 15, 2009
posted by samdie
0
votes

Nati, tell you the truth when I heard "cuál libro quieres" the first time, I was writing a comment to say that that was incorrect. However, it is listed in the RAE. But you cannot hear this over here.

updated ABR 15, 2009
posted by 00494d19
0
votes

I agree with it, although I don't know the regions where cuál would be used here. Qué is definitely the most common word, though. That's why I always say that we can't just say that qué = what and cuál = which.

However, cuál would be used in the following cases.

  1. ¿Cuál de los sombreros que están en la mesa prefieres?

  2. Entre todos los sombreros, ¿cuál sería tu favorito?

In 1. it is used because of the preposition de. In 2. it is used because the verb ser goes with it.

Thank you. This is one of the things I'm always messing up in Spanish . . .

updated ABR 15, 2009
posted by Natasha
0
votes

I agree with it, although I don't know the regions where cuál would be used here. Qué is definitely the most common word, though. That's why I always say that we can't just say that qué = what and cuál = which.

However, cuál would be used in the following cases.

  1. ¿Cuál de los sombreros que están en la mesa prefieres?
  2. Entre todos los sombreros, ¿cuál sería tu favorito?

In 1. it is used because of the preposition de. In 2. it is used because the verb ser goes with it.

updated ABR 15, 2009
posted by 00bacfba
0
votes

I answered (b) Cúal, and this is the feedback the site gave me:

*Your answer is wrong! The correct answer is "e." Qué is always correct in such sentences, although you'll hear cuál in some parts of Latin America. *

There have been quite a few discussions about qué and cuál here in the forum. I would like to know if our knowledgeable foreros agree with the statement from about.com, or have more information to add.

Here is the article on about.com regarding the subject.

updated ABR 15, 2009
posted by Natasha